Half a Bottle of Pinot Grigio

I spent a long time talking to Emily on Skype yesterday, and I recorded quite a lot of our conversation. This morning I woke up thinking about our brief discussion of veganism (and slavery). So I looked through the video recording, and found the passage, and snipped it out, and uploaded it to YouTube in side-by-side portrait format.

At first I thought that it would probably take too long to edit and upload this fragment (less than 10 minutes in duration) in time for me to write something in my blog about it, because my video editing skills are pretty minimal still.

But in fact I managed it fairly easily, so here’s the clip, in which both Emily and I are fairly ostentatiously smoking and drinking (Pinot Grigio from a newly bought wine glass for me, a bottle of beer for Emily). It begins with me discovering her first ever comment on my blog, in which she tells me that she’s a vegan:

At one point, when I ask why it’s not OK for vegans to eat animals, but OK to eat plants, I ask what the difference is, and Emily says (3:42 mins) that animals have central nervous systems, and so can feel pain. Plants don’t, so can’t.

I’ve heard this argument before, and it was what I woke up thinking about.

What is a central nervous system? It’s a communication system between the cells in an animal body and its brain. So if I stub my left little toe, my toe sends a message to my brain which says “Ouch!”, and my brain responds by sending a message to my left leg to lift my left foot, and to my right leg to take all my weight, and to my vocal chords to yell “Ouch!!”

But aren’t the cells in my left toe sending this message because they’ve been squeezed or knocked or broken? The pain must start in several cells, and they send a message along nerves to my brain. The central nervous system is a message carrier, much like the internet. Messages – like “ouch!” – are sent from one place in the nervous system to another. The central nervous system does not itself initiate the “ouch” messages, but only communicates them from one place to another, just like the internet communicates messages from one person to another.

And so in what sense are animals only able to feel pain because they have central nervous systems which are able to communicate the pain felt in their toes to their brains? The pain is felt in the toes, and communicated to the brain. And the pain messages are caused by the toes being knocked, squeezed, heated, frozen, or whatever.

And so mustn’t the cells in potatoes also experience the same painful knocking, squeezing, heating and freezing. It’s simply that they have no way to communicate their pain elsewhere, because there isn’t a nervous system in plants to communicate it elsewhere, and there is nothing to communicate it to.

Or, to shift from discussing animals and their nervous systems to discussing human societies and their communication media, does the failure or inability of smokers to communicate the pain they feel about smoking bans mean that they’re not feeling any pain? No, it doesn’t. They feel a lot of pain. But they’re unable to communicate it. Being a smoker is like being a cell inside a potato. We can’t get our pain communicated to our social ‘brain’ – the government. So they think everything’s hunky dory, when it isn’t.

Or, to go back to potatoes, just because potatoes can’t communicate their pain, and can’t say “ouch!” out loud, doesn’t mean that the cells in a potato don’t feel pain any less than animal cells feel pain.

But we happily boil potatoes and carrots and apples alive. At least with our animals we make sure they’re dead (central nervous system no longer functioning) before we boil them.

So as I see it, cooking and eating plants is just as barbaric as cooking and eating animals. But we have no choice but to do this. Much as, in antiquity, if you wanted to live an idle life – a life of leisure – you had no choice but to get slaves to do your work for you. If we no longer have slaves, it’s because we get machines to do our work for us. But for that fact, we’d still have slaves.

Anyway, it’s interesting to be able to publish a fragment of a conversation I had yesterday, and discuss it further today.

I ended up drinking half a bottle of Pinot Grigio yesterday. And that may have been what was doing most of the talking.

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39 Responses to Half a Bottle of Pinot Grigio

  1. Rose says:

    Is this what you were thinking of, FranK?

    Mimosa pudica
    Sensitive Plant

    “This plant can move – its leaves fold up at night and also when touched.
    It has a primitive nervous system of electrical impulses that trigger changes in cell water pressure at the base of the leaflets.”

    • Frank Davis says:

      It certainly sounds like it. I didn’t know that it had a primitive nervous system.

      And I’ve been thinking that plants – or at least stout wooden trees – do have the ability to transmit messages within themselves – in the form of vibrations. When an axe is applied to the base of the trunk of a tree, the vibrations from the impacts will travel up the trunk and out along the branches, and the same will go for the roots below the ground. So every cell in a tree will instantly “know” that it is being struck by something.

      I suspect that this is true of any fairly rigid plant. But it may well be less true for soft, fleshy animals in whose tissues vibrations are strongly damped. It may be that animals had to develop their new internal communication system – a central nervous system – to replace simple vibration as the principal communications medium. Which is to say that plants may well have a much better simple internal vibratory communication system than animals.

    • Joe L. says:

      I believe the same cell water pressure/electrical impulse (i.e., primitive nervous system) mechanism is also responsible for the closing of the Venus Fly Trap.

  2. beobrigitte says:

    Thanks for another very interesting conversation, Frank and Emily!

    Do you take Vitamin B12 supplements, Emily? From what I know (correct me if I’m wrong) plant B12 cannot be taken up by our body.

    To me the animal farming/mass production raises a lot of ethical questions as does plant (food) mass production.
    I do remember the family cow “Bertha” how was nurtured until the slaughter day came. I do remember the little family plot for our vegetables and fruit.
    These days it’s more difficult to have such a set-up and people rely on what they can buy.
    Demand regulates the availability of food items, health and safety regulates shelf-life and there is a huge mountain of waste of both, animal and vegetables. I am surprised that people seem to ignore that but it’s not my place to tell them about it or even start lecturing.

    I cook from fresh the old-fashioned way so I don’t eat meat/meat products every day and rarely there is any waste. I figured that this satisfies my omnivorous nature.
    I have my tiny veg patch in the garden and enjoy tending to it. The animals I have are pets, so I do rely on supermarkets/butcher/farms for the meat I eat. I try to buy my meat from a local farm simply because I know that these animals had a cared for life.
    Sadly, there is no way you can buy untreated milk and the mass milk production raises (again) ethical questions.

    Whichever way we look at food (unfortunately we need to eat to survive) – no-one escapes mass produced foods, not even the vegans. There is a new mass market for the increasingly becoming fashionable choice of vegetarian/vegan food stuff, which often looks like animal produced food stuff and is sold at a much higher cost than the “real” stuff.

    Demand regulates the market and I do think that fear mongering along with “nudging” is beginning to regulate demand. I believe only a small fraction of people change their eating habits for ethical reasons. Most people have been scared and “nudged” into doing so.
    Free choice?

    • Emily Wieja says:

      I do take B12 pills! As far as I understand that is a nutrient which doesn’t occur naturally in plants so must be supplemented. I seem to do ok (if you can call me ok haha!)

      I was thinking about it this morning and I think what bothers me about veganism becoming increasingly fashionable for health or environmental reasons is that it has an aspect of the anti-humanism which I see in climate change activism, tobacco control, etc. that we as humans are evil and bad and we must change our ways. I don’t see it that way for myself personally, I just have a feeling of how I want to live myself and I think everyone should make their own choices.

      I think Michael McFadden has mentioned previously that he used to be more involved in bike activism but that he became increasingly disillusioned with how the movement was using many of the same tactics of tobacco control- spreading lies and misinformation and fomenting hatred of cars to advance their cause. I have had the same experience with animal rights activism.

      • beobrigitte says:

        I do take B12 pills! As far as I understand that is a nutrient which doesn’t occur naturally in plants so must be supplemented.

        There is B12 in plants. Our bodies are unable to utilize it though as it is structurally slightly different to the animal B12.

        Incidentally, you are the only vegan I’ve come across who thinks of supplementing B12. When asking a friend’s friend about Vitamin B12 she insisted she must get enough from plants. I told her that she could not, so I asked what else she was eating. It turns out she gets her Vit B12 from the breakfast cereal she thought vegans could eat…

        BTW, Cooking for vegans….. I usually opt for marrow in (vegan-friendly) breadcrumbs with Rosemary potatoes. Works a treat!

      • smofunking says:

        There is an unfortunate tendency for some people to cross that enthusiastic/militant half way line when promoting a cause, lifestyle or idea, not realising that’s probably not the ideal way to go about winning hearts and minds.

        Vegans become vegans for a multitude of reasons but can become generalised and sneered at just like smokers are.

        I’ve sometimes felt that some of the backlash against veganism is that some people feel that treating animals and humans as equals amounts to treachery against your own species.

        • Emily Wieja says:

          [blockquote]Vegans become vegans for a multitude of reasons but can become generalised and sneered at just like smokers are.[/blockquote]

          I once made that point on a vegan messageboard I used to frequent, when a bunch of people were talking shit about smokers. But I basically was ignored, except for one sarcastic response, if I remember correctly.

      • beobrigitte says:

        I was thinking about it this morning and I think what bothers me about veganism becoming increasingly fashionable for health or environmental reasons is that it has an aspect of the anti-humanism which I see in climate change activism, tobacco control, etc. that we as humans are evil and bad and we must change our ways.

        Anti-humanism is the best term I have come across when addressing the fear culture peddled.
        The environmental thing started for me in the late 1970s/early 80s. I do like the idea that I keep my little plot soil fertile for veg crops, so I plant like my ancestors did, naturally, I was susceptible for the blabb about preservation of our planet. I love nature, digging in soil etc.etc.
        The environment lobbyists went on. And on. And on. And on. And at some point questions crept in. Human activity was causing another ice-age. Ah, ok. But, WHAT caused all the other ice-ages then BEFORE human activity could be blamed?
        Then they changed their minds… It was going to get hot and the ice caps were melting.
        Then we found animals landing in places they shouldn’t have landed in.
        To me the first thought was that the magnetic field was fluctuating, as the animals listed (Birds and Whales) do rely on the earth magnetic field to direct them.
        In short, more questions arose, which in view of the anti-smoking industry took a back seat for a while.
        I discovered there is another industry desperately justifying their existence. Humanity has to take a back seat. Scare mongering gets people into place.

    • Emily Wieja says:

      I do take B12 pills! As far as I understand that is a nutrient which doesn’t occur naturally in plants so must be supplemented. I seem to do ok (if you can call me ok haha!)

      I was thinking about it this morning and I think what bothers me about veganism becoming increasingly fashionable for health or environmental reasons is that it has an aspect of the anti-humanism which I see in climate change activism, tobacco control, etc. that we as humans are evil and bad and we must change our ways. I don’t see it that way for myself personally, I just have a feeling of how I want to live myself and I think everyone should make their own choices.

      I think Michael McFadden has mentioned previously that he used to be more involved in bike activism but that he became increasingly disillusioned with how the movement was using many of the same tactics of tobacco control- spreading lies and misinformation and fomenting hatred of cars to advance their cause. I have had the same experience with animal rights activism.

      ETA: see Micahel’s amazing answer on Quora which he sent me recently, which highlights a lot of this stuff:

  3. Rose says:


    Rise in lung adenocarcinoma linked to ‘light’ cigarette use
    Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
    “COLUMBUS, Ohio — A new study shows that so-called “light” cigarettes have no health benefits to smokers and have likely contributed to the rise of a certain form of lung cancer that occurs deep in the lungs.

    Results confirm what tobacco-control researchers have suspected for years: There is no health benefit to high-ventilation (light) cigarettes – long marketed by the tobacco industry as a “healthier” option – and these cigarettes have actually have caused more harm.

    Holes in cigarette filters were introduced 50 years ago and were critical to claims for low-tar cigarettes”

    But before you dismiss it as standard stuff, what they have just done,if they did but know it, is accuse the Americal Cancer Advisory Board of killing thousands of extra smokers over the past 50 years. Because the holes in fliters were originally their idea.

    Release Statement 1976

    “Dr. Frank Rauscher, Director of the National Cancer Program,Dr. Jonathan E, Roads, Chairman of the National Cancer Advisory Board, the members of the Board and Dr Robert Levy,Director of the National Heart and Lung Institute are calling upon the tobacco industry to adopt newly developed techniques to make cigarettes less hazardous so each year thousands of Americans might escape illness and premature death.”

    “The research conducted by the Smoking and Health Program of the National Cancer Institute and other national and international organizations has identified promising techniques for reducing toxic elements of smoke. These techniques fall into three general categories.

    Changes in Cigarette Construction
    The burning rate and the amount of air mixed with the smoke while the cigarette is being puffed can be altered by the use of cigarette paper of greater porosity, and by providing aerating mouthpieces.

    These methods reduce the amount of tobacco burned during inhalation, and by diluting the smoke recieved by the smoker make it less hazardous.”

    Or apparently not.

    Ironically, it was Ernst Wynder, life-long anti-tobacco scientist, who suggested the name “lights” to encourage smokers to switch to these now seemingly dangerous cigarettes.

    Ncab Committee Meeting,November 4th 1974

    “As “further inducement”, he proposed that all cigarettes below 12 mg. tar and 0.8 mg. nicotine could be labeled as “light”.
    Wynder said “the greatest progress both qualitatively and quantitatively, will come through, the managerial process.”
    https: //www.industrydocumentslibrary.ucsf.edu/docs/#id=yjkv0136

    ‘Light’ cigarettes with tiny holes in their filters may have made smokers more vulnerable to the most common form of lung cancer, scientists claim.
    Researchers investigated why rates of adenocarcinoma, a cancer that occurs deep in the lungs, had increased over the last 50 years.

    Ventilation holes, which were introduced 50 years ago, allow smokers to inhale more carcinogens and other harmful toxins, experts believe.
    They also say this form of cigarette, which was marketed as a healthier ‘low tar’ option, changes how tobacco is burned, producing more cancer-causing chemicals.
    This then also allows the smoke to reach the deeper parts of the lung where adenocarcinomas more frequently occur, Ohio State University researchers concluded.

    ‘What is especially concerning is that these holes are still added to virtually all cigarettes that are smoked today.’
    It is now illegal to label cigarette packets with the words ‘light’ or ‘low tar’ both in the US and the UK.
    But the study authors say regulators such as the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) should now take action to ban the use of cigarette filter ventilation holes.”
    http: //www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4529286/Light-cigarettes-make-smokers-prone-lung-cancer.html

    Obviously the tobacco companies are to blame and rightly so, they should never have listened to them, but then then NCAB did have the ear of the President Ford aand had been lobbying him to that end.

    Experts. eh?

    I don’t know about you, but I would think that American smokers have a pretty good case, there’s no MSA for meddling charities.

    • nisakiman says:

      As is usual with all tobacco ‘research’, there’s a lot of ‘likely’, ‘could’ and ‘hypothesise’ in that report, and then we have:

      A team made up of lung oncology, public health and tobacco regulation researchers conducted a comprehensive, multi-faceted analysis of existing literature that included chemistry and toxicology studies, human clinical trials and epidemiological studies of both smoking behavior and cancer risk. They studied scientific publications in the peer-reviewed literature and internal tobacco company documents.

      Researchers hypothesized that the higher incidence rates of lung adenocarcinoma were attributable to the filter ventilation holes, which allow smokers to inhale more smoke that also has higher levels of carcinogens, mutagens and other toxins.

      Lung oncology, public health and tobacco regulation researchers. Just the sort of guys you’d employ to give you an unbiased report, eh?

      And of course, towards the bottom we have the bit which is the most important part of the whole report. “Additional research is needed…” Well, gotta keep up the payments on the Range Rover, Eh?

      So what this bunch of anti-smoking zealots has done is to trawl through other garbage produced predominantly by other anti-smoking zealots, and done a ‘multi-faceted analysis’ of it.

      Spare me.

      I would give this ‘study’ as much credibility as the ‘Sunday Sport’ reports of the number 47 bus found at the North Pole.

      I think that this report is a sign that TC are grasping at straws. Smoking rates have gone down a huge amount over the past three decades, but cases of lung cancer haven’t really gone down much at all. What to do? The narrative must be maintained.

      We’ll soon be reading about studies showing how people are getting lung cancer because they’ve spent more than five minutes in a room where people once used to smoke.

      Well, they’re going to have to think of something, aren’t they? Their whole edifice is built on the foundations of ‘Smoking Causes Lung Cancer’.

      • Rose says:

        “people are getting lung cancer because they’ve spent more than five minutes in a room where people once used to smoke.”

        They have already, more or less, when they discovered (tobacco scientists, not them) how tsnas were formed, (originally from a faulty heating process in tobacco barns), they ressurrected possible exposures to NOx gases in the home to create the phantom menace of thirdhand smoke.
        Chicken or baked potato specific nitrosamines in the home just wouldn’t have the same cachet.

        However, the previous study is interesting because it’s the first time that I know of that modern anti-tobacco has unwittingly crossed over it’s own predecessor’s tracks.

    • Joe L. says:

      Ventilation holes, which were introduced 50 years ago, allow smokers to inhale more carcinogens and other harmful toxins, experts believe.

      So they’re claiming that inhaling additional ‘clean’ air from around the circumference of the filter of a cigarette is more toxic than inhaling ‘undiluted’ cigarette smoke.

      Call me crazy, but why is this being used to attack tobacco companies? Instead, shouldn’t this be triggering myriad air quality tests to determine why these supposed carcinogens are so abundant in our ‘clean’ air?

      Separate thought:

      Let’s assume this study is actually correct. This would mean that cigarettes were actually made to be more dangerous as a result of the flawed research of antismokers such as Wynder.

      This sets a very frightening precedent. When the research and regulation of a product is monopolized by a group which harbors unbridled hatred for a product and its consumers, who’s preventing them from using intentionally flawed/manipulated research to further smear the product — and in the case of cigarettes/food/drugs/automobiles/etc., potentially harm and/or kill innocent people in the process.

      • Rose says:

        Joe, if you look further down that statement you will see that the NCAB’s idea of a safer cigarette is one with less tobacco in it.

        On page 5 they helpfully suggest further dilution of the genuine tobacco by the addition of “cellulose synthetic tobacco extenders, inorganic salts, clays and kaolin” in reconstituted tobacco sheets and suggest that tobacco can be “expanded, puffed or freeze dried so that less of it is required to fill each cigarette”

        • smokingscot says:

          @ Rose.

          Your suggestion was good. Serious edit, combined both lists and chucked in some gratuitous information at the end.

          The URL you have still works for the list of MPs who voted for the smoking ban.

          This is the one for the combined list for the 2006 vote on the smoking ban and the 2010 vote on rejecting the motion to allow for separate smoking rooms.


        • Rose says:

          Excellent, that needs spreading far and wide.

        • Joe L. says:

          Wow. Thanks for that, Rose. I haven’t had time to read the full statement yet. That’s exactly what I was speaking of being afraid of.

          Antismokers are a fox that has been allowed to guard the henhouse of tobacco regulation. They should not be allowed to tamper/interfere with or direct the production of tobacco products!

          If I wanted to inhale man-made inorganic and synthetic compounds instead of tobacco smoke, I would have taken up vaping.

          This is genuinely frightening.

  4. As far as I know it has long been known to those scientist types that plants feel what we would call ‘pain’ . I thought that had been ‘discovered’ years back? *vaguely recalls a late 70s “Tomorrow’s World” that touched on it too…*

  5. smofunking says:

    I remember happening upon some literature in the mid 80s that depicted a butcher with a meat cleaver in one hand hovered above a baby on a slab. In the background were more babies hanging on hooks. Unlike most that I showed the image to, my immediate reaction was that (ignoring the legal ramifications) if babies tasted good I’d have no problem eating them.

    As for differentiating between plants and animals, I think one’s perception of somebody kicking a potato down the street would vary significantly from seeing someone booting even a lowly rat (dead or alive) down the same thoroughfare.

    In a way smokers have become human vermin, in that they are looked down upon by the poorly informed and the highly judgmental.

    Does anyone think that meat packaging will eventually be required to show how its contents were killed?

    • nisakiman says:

      Most meat in supermarkets these days is marked as being ‘Halal’, so you know that the animal died by having its throat slit.

      • smofunking says:

        I was thinking of gory images akin to the medical porn shown on UK tobacco packaging.

        • Joe L. says:

          It’s only a matter of time before our governments start requiring the printing of gruesome pictures of animals on butcher paper, packages of ground beef and fast food packaging. Fast food packaging will be trickier, as the animal cruelty porn will surely be forced to play second fiddle to the obesity mediporn that will most likely be printed on it first.

  6. roobeedoo2 says:

    Talking of meat, here’s the gravy…

  7. Juliet 46 says:

    You only drank half a bottle of Pinot – respect !

  8. waltc says:

    “Nearly 40% of lung cancers in the US are adenocarcinoma, which usually originates in peripheral lung tissue.[3] Most cases of adenocarcinoma are associated with smoking; however, among people who have smoked fewer than 100 cigarettes in their lifetimes (“never-smokers”),[4] adenocarcinoma is the most common form of lung cancer.[5] Its incidence has been increasing in many developed Western nations in the past few decades…”


    Lobsters are boiled while alive.

    There’s been a spate of recent studies to the effect that plants feel pain.

    A few nights ago a friend who’s a veteranarian and also grew up on a farm told the story of a headless chicken who lived (headless) for 3 years. We’ve all heard the cliche “walking around like chicken without head” and she confirmed, first hand, that they often do continue to move for while after decapitation, but the famous (she claims you can google it) immortal chicken simply wouldn’t die. The farmer was so spooked, he thought it was a sign from God, and therefore, she said, continued to feed it by dropping super-fine meal directly down its gullet, which it apparently digested and pooped in the usual way. I suppose this isn’t in some ways too different from humans in a vegetative state with no brain function who are kept alive, a brainles body on autopilot. I imagine the chicken didn’t know it was alive any more than such people do.

    Good analogy, Frank, between metaphorically voiceless smokers and congenitally mute potatos

    • Rose says:

      Oh good grief Walt it’s true!
      I wish I hadn’t looked now.

      Here’s Why a Chicken Can Live Without Its Head
      August 11, 2014

    • nisakiman says:

      Yes, it’s true. I have quite vivid memories from when I was a child living in Singapore, and our Amah (a Chinese servant provided for all army officers along with the accommodation in those days) always used to decapitate the chickens intended for the table with a meat cleaver. Invariably they would continue to run, headless, around the kitchen for a few minutes after having been decapitated, before finally keeling over. I was fascinated by it. Amah thought it was great fun.

  9. C.F. Apollyon says:

    That’s the best that I can do with respect to a screenshot of “The Money Bag/sack” from the video game “Plants vs Zombies.” A game that may be considered an anachronism to the vegan/vegetarian, carnivore, omnivore, whatever-a-vore types of debates amongst humans.

    It’s easier to see in the actual game, but if you look to the right of the dollar sign, you’ll notice a crease that appears to be a lowercase “L.” To the right of this “l”…there is another crease that appears to be a lowercase “Y” following along with the curvature of the bag/sack.

    So now that we have gotten $ly with our connections and connecting…what is the correct opinion to have? Can I also guess who thinks this opinion is the correct one to have an why? Is there really such a thing as “overt subversion?” I mean…who has time for this shit? In a life as finite as ours has the appearance of being, is there any wonder as to the combative nature of just about anything and everything?

    No “Central Nervous System” eh? I wonder what makes up our CNS? I wonder what makes up theirs? I get the feeling that “central” may be central to some of our failings sometimes. Just because we have different “nervous systems”…and they are the same damn thing that does the same damn things differently…don’t let that make you as a person…nervous. Act upon a tree in any number of ways…and that tree can and will respond.
    EX: When I was about 10, I climbed to the top of a Cottonwood tree as high as I could go that was about 5 years old/30 feet tall, and put an elastic band with a snap around one of the limbs to see how long it would take for the tree to grow large enough to pop the snap. The band hung loosely at first, but eventually filled out and began to stretch the elastic band. But over the next three years, the weather made all of the rubber in the elastic corrode, leaving only the cloth fibers, and I thought my long running experiment would fail due to other factors. But it hung on even tho the snap had so rusted that even I could not separate the snap. One day, when about to climb the tree to check on it, I noticed that the band was laying on the ground next to the tree. It wound up taking about 5 years, but the tree had prolly grown an additional 20 feet in height during that time. Meaning that each year, the band was a little higher off of the ground, due to the entire tree moving upwards.

    Sorry for the rant. But I spent a lot of time in and around trees and other plants in my youth. Lots of collecting mushrooms and tree funguses.

    Some great thoughts in your post/vid today tho. Thanks for what you do.

    ^deadmau5 & Kaskade – I Remember [HQ]^

  10. jaxthefirst says:

    I’ve always wondered about that “plants can’t feel pain” theory. There must, surely, be the possibility that plants can indeed feel pain – it’s just that their mechanism for indicating it isn’t yet understood by us, perhaps because it’s never occurred to anyone to try and find out. After all, for many years people didn’t consider that animals could feel pain in quite the same way, or at the same level, as we did (or even at all), because animals don’t have such expressive faces as us and can’t communicate in the sophisticated way that we can. Once we understood the mechanism of a nervous system and, recognising that that same mechanism is also there is animals, we had to accept that they, too, felt pain, even if they couldn’t wince or say “ouch” or “Oy, knock it off, will you?” our attitudes over time changed, quite rightly, so that now gratuitous animal cruelty is regarded as almost as despicable as gratuitous cruelty towards children (or worse, in some cases). Sadly, this isn’t the case in all societies, and there are many parts of the world where animals are still treated with appalling cruelty. (Without going into gory detail, there are some parts of the world where, contrary to your comment in your article, they don’t ensure that animals are dead before boiling them – in fact they think they taste better if they’re not. Horrible but true)

    But if it is possible that plants can feel pain, what would vegans eat then??

    • Rose says:

      I always apologise to plants that I’m pruning or cutting in some way, it just feels natural to do so. Not weeds though, weeds are the enemy and I didn’t ask them to be here.

    • smofunking says:

      I believe that for some, the whole point of becoming vegan is to try to minimize pain and suffering (a bit like THR is for some smokers, if you will), especially once they realise that they’re never going to eradicate it.

      One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is the amount of other living beings killed during the cultivation of crops as well as the use of pesticides.

      Then there is the case that the less animals you have to feed, the less crops you need to grow.

      But these are not scenarios that go through most people’s minds when faced with a kebab shop after a night of lager frenzy.

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